Engelken resigns Steamboat Spring City Council seat

Councilman’s last meeting July 6; city approves Triple Crown deal



Jim Engelken.

— It’s not easy to overshadow the city’s new agreement with Triple Crown Sports, but Jim Engelken found a way Tuesday night.

The Steamboat Springs City Councilman resigned his at-large seat Tuesday in Centennial Hall and said that his last council meeting will be July 6 because of his family’s upcoming move to the Denver area. City attorney Tony Lettunich said Engelken’s resignation means the remaining six City Council members will have 30 days from the time of vacancy to elect a new member by majority vote. That vote likely will occur Aug. 3. Engelken’s two-year, at-large seat is open to applicants citywide. His replacement will serve the remainder of his term through the November 2011 election.

Engelken said in April that he and his family were considering a move to the Front Range. His wife, Nancy, left her position as the city’s community housing coordinator at the end of last year. She became the executive director of Housing Colorado, a Denver-based nonprofit organization that provides affordable housing services statewide.

Jim Engelken said although the move was a “very difficult” decision, his wife’s frequent travel and increasing time away from their 4-year-old daughter, Elisa, became too tough on the family. He said they’ll move during the next couple of months and are considering Golden.

Also Tuesday night, City Council approved Steamboat Springs’ new agreement with Triple Crown Sports in a 6-1 vote, potentially keeping Triple Crown summer sports events in Steamboat through 2020. Triple Crown’s current agreement with the city expires after this summer.

City Council President Cari Hermacinski noted that because it’s an agreement, not a contract, the deal’s conditions are subject to change in coming years if problems arise. Those problems could include a prolonged decrease in Triple Crown’s local presence coupled with continued costs to the city.

Under the new agreement, the city would be required to pay Triple Crown a sponsorship fee of $65,000 to $80,000 annually, depending on the size and amount of Triple Crown events. That’s in addition to the city’s dedication of at least $75,000 annually for field improvements or development. Triple Crown would be required to pay at least $15,000 a year for local field improvements.

Councilwoman Meg Bentley said she couldn’t support those costs before casting her “no” vote. Councilman Kenny Reis­man and Steamboat resident Bill Jameson expressed concern that while the sponsorship fee increases if Triple Crown brings more teams to town, it does not decrease below $65,000 if Triple Crown brings fewer teams.

City Manager Jon Roberts emphasized the fluid, nonbinding nature of the agreement.

“It’s a multi-year agreement. … But it’s not a multi-year financial obligation to the city,” Roberts said.

Fort Collins-based Triple Crown has brought summer sports events to Steamboat since 1982. Hermacinski, Councilman Jon Quinn and Councilman Scott Myller all expressed their support for Triple Crown’s relationship with the city and the new agreement.

Engelken’s minority voice

Engelken previously served on City Council from 1995 to 2001. He was re-elected in November 2009 after running a campaign that strongly criticized the previous City Council, which he called “very aggressively pro-growth.”

He’s been on the losing end of numerous votes during his current term.

“I have been a minority voice,” he acknowledged Tuesday.

That trend continued Tuesday night, when — before announcing his resignation near the end of the meeting — Engelken twice voted against changes to the city’s community development code that the City Council approved.

The changes reduced setback requirements for new development and allowed some setbacks to count toward open space requirements. Engelken said the changes would create “a much denser environment” in Steamboat.

“This is a major change to the way we look,” he said.

He lost one vote, 6-1, and another, 5-2, with Bentley also opposing some changes to setback requirements.

Engelken said Tuesday that he hopes his replacement will put the needs of the entire community first, rather than those of the development community.

Hermacinski said she hopes City Council can reach unified agreement on the new member with a 6-0 vote in August. Council members will interview selected applicants. Those interested in applying can call City Clerk Julie Franklin at 970-871-8248.

Engelken turns 52 next month. He’ll be leaving a city he’s lived in for essentially his entire adult life.

“I came here when I was 20 years old in 1979,” he said.

Engelken has worked at Safeway throughout his time in Steamboat. He said he’s had a season pass to Steamboat Ski Area every winter but two during that time.

City Council next meets July 6.


ElBorracho 6 years, 11 months ago

Jim, thanks so much for all your hard work and the countless hours you've put in on behalf of the people of Steamboat Springs to make this a great town to live in. Best of luck in your next adventure. You'll always have a home here!


Steve Lewis 6 years, 11 months ago

Thanks Jim. You were a minority voice of the 7 on council, its true, but you also represented a majority of Steamboat.

I wonder what the setback changes are? You would think such change to the face of Steamboat is news worthy of some detail.


Scott Wedel 6 years, 11 months ago

Steve, Setbacks issue is typical developer driven idea to maximize square footage on small lots. And then after a couple are built then the neighborhood is horrified and the rules are changed again. But not until another dozen or so that were started under the old rules are allowed to finish.

And then downtown residential area of SB becomes dominated by these structures so much bigger than their neighbors.


addlip2U 6 years, 11 months ago

It just shows how ignorant our city Council Members are.
One of many reason for a setback is safety (traffic, noise, pollution, car accidents, snow plowing, people living too close - unable to open windows without looking into each others home and a cause of spreading illness, disease, odors,etc). Steamboat is not a city and those of us living here do not want high density.

I second Mr.Lewis comment - Mr. Engelken you do represent the majority of the citizens. Thank you for your representation.


John Fielding 6 years, 11 months ago


It seems to me the new regulations allowing greater density are the direct result of a misinterpretation of the rejection of 700. We did not vote in favor of overdeveloping Old Town, only against an annexation agreement that had too many people worried about negative impacts.

Infill, infill, infill, was the mantra of those who said we did not need new development west of town. I suspect a majority still favor annexation over what will happen to Old Town without it and would support a new agreement that addresses the major concerns of the old proposal.

Lets hope it happens before too much of the ambiance of Old Town is lost.



Cedar Beauregard 6 years, 11 months ago

Please look into the new setback regulations before you pass judgment.

The total potential size and shape of the buildings within these zone districts has not changed significantly. What we did change is the way in which the development can progress through time. The old regulations with setbacks incentivises the developer to create large development all in one phase similar to Central park or Sundance plaza. What we have done is eliminate the setbacks between the lots if they are under 50 feet wide allowing the developer to subdivide the parcel without having to "lose" a large percentage of there land to setbacks. This will allow the site to reach its full potential over time and hopefully leave some reserve space for the future without having to expand outward.

Another thing we did was require a second floor to be built. This second floor is allowed in the old regulations but has seldom been built in the past. Wild Horse Market place has this single level pattern and we felt it was a waist of potential housing within our urban core. Think of all the people who could have lived above these buildings within walking distance of almost all their needed services.

So in short I don't think we were doing this for the development community but rather the whole community. In fact we had significant push back from the developers through the process.


pitpoodle 6 years, 11 months ago

I am sorry to see you go, Jim. You have been a good representative on city council over the years. You speak your mind and have had no personal agenda. You vote for the good of residents in Steamboat Springs. That is high praise, as far as I am concerned. Best wishes to you and Nancy.


Dave Moloney 6 years, 11 months ago


While I haven't always agreed with your positions over the years, I have appreciated your willingness to serve and bring your point of view to the discussion. Good luck to you and your family with your future ventures.


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